Alberto Bettiol’s heroic ride at De Ronde van Vlaanderen

The Italian was caught in the last few hundred meters and finished in ninth place

March 31, 2024

Alberto Bettiol stood on the pedals, returned to the saddle, and stood again, cranking a huge gear down the finishing straight of the Ronde van Vlaanderen with all of the strength he had left.

The podium was right there in front of him. The former Tour of Flanders champ had come from behind in his favorite race, fighting his way back to the front after a crash. A huge pull from his teammate Marijn van den Berg brought him back in the game just after the last ascent of the Oude Kwaremont. On the Paterberg, Alberto churned up to the contenders, parting a roaring sea of Lion of Flanders flags, and then took off in pursuit of the leader, Mathieu van der Poel (ADC).

Racing in second and third place on the road, he traded turns with Dylan Teuns (PRT) until the last few hundred meters, where the chasers caught them and sprinted past. Alberto finished the 2024 edition of De Ronde in ninth. He is heartbroken but proud of his performance.

“This is cycling,” he said at the end. “I had a lot of bad luck today. I crashed on the Kwaremont the second time and had to wait, but I am really happy with my teammates. They helped me all day. There was no way to beat Van der Poel today, but a podium would have been a good one. Sorry, for Dylan Theuns as well. We rode really well together and maybe deserved a better result, but it is what it is.”

The Italian cobbled classics star will now turn his focus to Paris-Roubaix, where he will make his debut next week.

“Next Sunday, there is another opportunity and we will go for that,” Alberto said.

Watch out. With more luck and today’s legs, Alberto will contend for the podium at the fearsome French monument.

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